Sundays are typically quiet affairs where I spend much of the day cleaning and generally preparing for the week ahead. It is also the day I cook myself the meals I need for the coming work week, so much of my Sunday afternoons are spent in the kitchen. In my Sunday Dinner series, I highlight some of my culinary concoctions. This week’s dinner is…
Bacon-Wrapped Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Meatloaf
Wow, that’s a mouthful. You may be thinking just by the full title that this is one of those meals that requires a great deal of time and effort. Sure, with this dish you have to be willing to get your hands dirty a bit, but the payoff is well worth it.
Admittedly, I was one of those kids who, once I became aware that meatloaf was what was on the menu, I’d die a little inside. As I grew up, I ask myself why I wasn’t more enthusiastic about it in my earlier years. I take some comfort in knowing that I wasn’t alone, and that even people nowadays would prefer just about anything else to an old-fashioned meatloaf.
I can’t remember the last time I had meatloaf other than my own, but I’m quite certain it was of my mother’s cooking. My mother was not a bad cook, but she wasn’t very enthusiastic about it. Her idea of dinner often consisted of toast, sliced tomatoes and cottage cheese — and now toast is the only one of those three I still choose to eat willingly. Her meatloaf in particular; however, was something I ate reluctantly. Not that it was bad — in fact, it always came out of the oven as one would expect and it came out at a consistency that I, now older and more experienced in the kitchen, have come to applaud. Still, there was always something off about it that I could never really identify. My only theory was that she was hiding tiny chunks of green peppers in it, knowing that I wouldn’t ordinarily eat green peppers. But that theory seems far-fetched now. Who would put green peppers in meatloaf?
The inspiration for this came from a time-lapse video I saw online of someone making it. I can’t remember where I saw it or how to find it now, but it detailed every instruction required to make this entree a success. One of the key attractions of it was that it was more than just meatloaf. Much like stuffed, breaded chicken breasts are not just chicken breasts, meatloaf can hold a cheesy surprise too.
Here’s what you’ll need…
1 cup bread crumbs
2.5 lbs ground beef (serves about 8 people)
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp mustard (dijon preferrably)
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp chili powder or flakes, optional
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
8 slices of cheese (I use monterey jack) OR 1.5 cups of shredded cheese
1.5 bunch of spinach
8 – 10 slices of bacon
- In a large bowl, mix ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, onions and the spices together. You want to ensure everything is mixed well, but you don’t want to over mix.
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
- On a clean, flat surface, extend a generous amount of aluminum foil. Once foil is in place, place the meat on the foil and flatten it out, making a rectangle with the meat.
- On flattened meat mixture, place cheese slices in two rows extending from one side of the meat rectangle to the other.
- Place spinach onto the flattened meat mixture.
- Using the foil as a guide, carefully roll up the meat, ensuring the cheese and spinach remain inside what should now look like a log (or loaf) of meat. Tear away excess aluminum foil as needed. Round out and seal the sides of the loaf by compressing the meat. Set the loaf aside.
- Extend a new sheet of foil on a flat surface. On the foil, place bacon slices side by side on the foil, ensuring you have enough bacon to cover all (or most) of the meat loaf.
- Place meatloaf onto the strips of bacon and roll using foil as a guide.
- Place bacon-wrapped meatloaf onto a broiling pan in the oven for 75 minutes.
- Once meatloaf is cooked, let it cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it.
A quick note on the feature image photo. When I originally made the first of these meatloaves, I wrapped it all up into aluminum foil and put it in the oven. It took much longer to cook because it needed some time uncovered as well, but it worked out. The broiling pan; however is recommended now because the oil no longer becomes a factor and the meatloaf cooks much more evenly. I usually serve this with mashed potatoes, peas, carrots, corn and a caesar salad.